10 “New Year habits” for safe and enjoyable boating.
It’s that time again when the New Year will be ushered in with a blizzard of resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthy food, get fit and drink less, learn Mandarin, etc, etc. However, these simple declarations of intent require a considerable amount of will power to succeed and as the last traces of it disappear, most resolutions are abandoned.
Now, according to those in the know, resolutions fail because they are nothing more than abstract goals that are not coupled to specific activities and therefore they do not become instinctive habits which are crucial for success.
How do we put this into context? Well the RYA is fervent about promoting safe and responsible boating; it is core to all we stand for and all that we do. The RYA believes, fundamentally, that safe behaviour and established good practice protect life and equipment and are vital for the enjoyment of leisure boating at every level that it takes place.
To help us achieve our goal, here is a list of 10 “New Year habits” in no particular order that you might choose to adopt depending on the type of boating you do.
Always wear a kill cord.
Make sure it is attached to the driver of the boat, ideally before the engine is started.
Do not drink and “drive.”
In a recent survey 26.5% of respondents said that they drank alcohol immediately before or during sailing; why would you take the risk?
Wear your lifejacket or buoyancy aid unless you are sure you don’t need to.
Your decision will be guided by the conditions, your experience and the type of activity you are doing. If in any doubt, wear it.
Get lifejackets and liferafts serviced.
Lifejackets and liferafts are useless unless they work; get them serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions at an approved service agent.
Fit a Carbon Monoxide detector.
You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but Carbon Monoxide can kill quickly and with no warning. Stay alive and fit a detector, particularly in sleeping accommodation.
Consider using personal location devices such as PLB and AIS.
These provide fast effective distress alerting and man overboard location for any kind of craft.
Register your EPIRB or Personal Locator Beacon.
Properly registering your beacon could mean the difference between surviving an incident at sea and losing your life.
Check the weather forecast before putting to sea.
Apart from being a passage planning obligation, it is the weather that will determine when and where the prudent boater goes, or if they go at all.
Keep in touch.
A means of calling for help in the event of an on board emergency is essential for all boaters.
Download the SafeTrx App and use it.
The RYA SafeTrx App monitors any type of boat journey set up by you and alerts emergency contacts should you fail to return on time. The App is for both Android & Apple iOS devices and can be downloaded from:
There is a considerable amount of information on these and other topics in the RYA Safety Information section.
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